Matthew in Paraguay swim

Matthew Walsh.
Matthew Walsh.

A 16-year-old boy is set to embark on a ‘Swim to Paraguay’ to raise money for church work in the South American city.

Matthew Walsh, a member of Mullavilly Church of Ireland parish, will not actually be crossing oceans and rivers but will make the ‘journey’ in Portadown pool on Saturday, March 25.

Matthew, who coaches the younger members of Portadown Swimming Club, will replace the 6,290 miles from Mullavilly to Asuncion by 6,290 metres, which is equivalent to 190 lengths of the Cascades pool.

And he will be joined in the pool by some of the young swimmers who are also taking part in the fundraising event, with the proceeds being divided between Paraguay and the club.

Matthew will begin the swim at 3pm and is hoping to complete it in around two hours, with plenty of support from the sidelines.

The fundraising event is one of a number being undertaken by the team ahead of their two-and-a-half week visit in July where they will work alongside the local church in the city of Asuncion and in the Shanty Town of Chacarita.

The rector, the Rev Elizabeth Cairns, will lead the team of Matthew Walsh, Adam Magowan, Anna Neill and Chloe McKitterick, all of whom will be 17 by the time they leave.

She said, “This is the first time that anyone from Mullavilly has been to South America with SAMS.

“We will be doing a lot of work with children and young people.

“This swim is a huge undertaking for Matthew and money he raises will help fund the team’s expenses. We would encourage folk to come and cheer him along from the sidelines. I know that both he and we as a team will appreciate any donations or sponsorship.”

An auction will take place on the same day as the swim to raise money for the Paraguay team trip. It will start at 10.30am with viewing from 9am. Items will include furniture, garden and household items and tools, toys and much more. Tea and coffee will be available to buy during the auction which is being held in the parish hall. Meanwhile, a coffee morning and cake sale will be held tomorrow (Saturday) in the hall from 10am.